Saturday, December 31, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #56 - Rudy May




Friday, December 30, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #55 - Jeff Burroughs


Thursday, December 29, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #54 - Sandy Alomar





Wednesday, December 28, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #53 - Paul Mitchell


  • Paul Mitchell was all over the place in 1977. He and several other players were caught up in the fallout from Charlie Finley's suit against baseball and started the season in the minors. After Paul came up to the majors in June he didn't show much and was released in August. The Seattle Mariners picked him up and Mitchell pitched better for them.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • Chatanooga (AA) - 0-3, 3.66 ERA in 5 starts
    • San Jose (AAA) - 2-5, 5.29 ERA, 10 games (9 starts)
    • Oakland A's- 0-3, 10.54 ERA, 5 games (3 starts)
    • Seattle Mariners - 3-3, 4.99 ERA, 9 starts
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • March 19 - Was unsigned during spring training and was concerned that A's owner Charlie Finley would send him to the minor league camp. Several other unsigned players had already been sent down. Mitchell did start the 1977 season in the minors and wasn't brought up until mid-June.
    • April 14 - Roughed up in the season opener for the San Jose Missions of the Pacific Coast League. Mitchell allowed six runs in the first three innings, but the Missions came back to win the game 11-6.
    • Aug 4 - Claimed on waivers by the Seattle Mariners
    • Aug 17 - Pitched six innings and earned his first victory of the season. Seattle beat the Minnesota Twins 3-2.
  • Other card blogs: 1980, 1976


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #52 - Ellis Valentine


  • Ellis Valentine had the potential to do great things. The Expos had a good  young outfield with Andre Dawson, Warren Cromartie, and Valentine. Ellis was hit in the jaw by a pitch in 1980 and missed much of the season. He wasn't able to get things going again and retired after the 1985 season.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • .293, 25 HR, 76 RBI in 127 games.
  • 1977 Highlights
  • Other card blogs: 1976, 19781982


Monday, December 26, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #51 - Milwaukee Brewers / Alex Grammas


  • There's Hank Aaron on the top row (5th guy from the left)! Aaron retired after the 1976 season.
  • This was Alex Grammas' second (and last) stint as a major league manager.
    • After his playing career was over, Grammas coached for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1965-1969.
    • Alex managed the Pittsburgh Pirates for the last five games of the 1969 season and had a 4-1 record.
    • Grammas coached for the Cincinnati Reds under Sparky Anderson from 1970-1975.
    • Grammas was named as the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1976. He managed the club for two years:
      • 1976: 66-95, .410, 6th in AL East
      • 1977: 67-95, .414, 6th in AL East
    • After the 1977 season Grammas was let go as the Milwaukee manager and went back to the Reds to coach in 1978. He then coached for the Atlanta Braves in 1979 and went back to coaching with Sparky in Detroit from 1980 through the 1991 season.
  • The Milwaukee Brewers were starting to come up with some good players, but they were a couple of years away from contending. 
  • Team stats:
    • Record: 67-95 (6th in NL East, 33 games behind the New York Yankees)
    • Attendance: 1,114,938 (12th of 14 in AL)
    • Team Batting: .258 (10th in AL)
    • Team HR: 125 (10th in AL)
    • Team ERA: 4.32 (11th in AL)
    • Team Fielding:  .978 (tied for 4th in AL)
    • AL All Stars: Don Money (3B), Jim Slaton (P)
  • Team Leaders:
    • Batting Average: Cecil Cooper (.300)
    • Home Runs: Don Money (25)
    • RBI: Don Money (83)
    • Stolen Bases: Jim Wohlford (17)
    • Wins: Jerry Augustine (12)
    • Losses: Jerry Augustine (18)
    • Strikeouts: Moose Haas (113)
    • Saves: Bill Castro (13)
    • ERA (starters): Jim Slaton (3.58)
    • ERA (relievers): Bob McClure (2.52)
  • Team Highlights:
    • May 6 - Lost to the Detroit Tigers 5-2 and fell into a first place tie with the New York Yankees. The Brewers had been in first place since April 15. It would be the last time the Brewers would be in first place in the 1977 season.
    • Aug 14 - Pitcher Bill Travers took one for the team in the second game of a doubleheader. After Milwaukee lost the first game to the Cleveland Indians 12-4, Travers pitched 7 2/3 innings and allowed 14 runs. He left the game in the 9th inning and got a standing ovation. Travers' ERA rose from 3.45 to 4.63 and it was the start of a long losing streak for him. Bill had a 4-5 record before the game and ended up with a record of 4-12.
    • Nov 18 - Signed free agent Larry Hisle to a six-year, $3.155 million contract.
    • Nov 20 - Fired manager Alex Grammas and Director of Player Development Al Widmar. General Manager Jim Baumer resigned. The club hired Harry Dalton as the new GM.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #50 - Ron Cey


  • How about a penguin for Christmas?
  • This entry is more difficult than some of the others. There are plenty of news article about Ron Cey from 1977, but most of them are on pay-per-view sites (LA Times, New York Times)
  • Although Cey hit a career-high 30 home runs, his slugging percentage in 1977 was one of the lowest in his career.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • Regular Season: .241, 30 HR, 110 RBI
    • League Championship Series: .308, 1 HR, 4 RBI in 4 games
    • World Series: .190, 1 HR, 3 RBI in 6 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • April 16 - Went 1 for 1 and was walked four times in the same game.
    • July 19 - Was the National League's starting 3B in the All Star Game. He went 0 for 2 with a walk.
    • Sept 7 - Homered twice and knocked in three runs in the Dodgers' 5-2 win over the Atlanta Braves.
    • Oct 4- Hit a grand slam, but it wasn't enough as the Dodgers lost game 1 of the National League Championship Series 7-5.
    • Oct 12 - Hit a 2-run homer to help the Dodgers beat the New York Yankees 6-1 in game 2 of  the World Series.
  • Other card blogs: 19821976, 1975, 1974 (Night Owl Card Appreciation), 1973, 1972Cey It's About Time (another Night Owl post)


Saturday, December 24, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #49 - Grant Jackson




Friday, December 23, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #48 - Tom Paciorek




Thursday, December 22, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #47 - Lynn McGlothen




Wednesday, December 21, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #46 - Buck Martinez


  • Buck Martinez didn't play a whole lot in 1977. Starting catcher Darrell Porter played in 130 games that year, and backup catcher John Wathan got most of the remainder of the playing time behind the plate.
  • 1977 Stats:
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1976, 1975


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #45 - Rawly Eastwick



  • It was a tumultuous 1977 season for Rawly Eastwick. He was one of several holdouts and was never able to come to contract terms with the Reds. Eastwick pitched well for Cincinnati, but he struggled after being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • Cincinnati Reds - 2-2, 2.91 ERA, 7 saves, 23 games
    • St. Louis Cardinals - 3-7, 4.70 ERA, 4 saves, 41 games (1 start)
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 198219781976

Monday, December 19, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #44 - Bud Harrelson




Sunday, December 18, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #43 - Ray Bare


  • The 1977 season was Ray Bare's last in the majors.
  • 1977 stats:
    • Detroit: 0-2, 12.56 ERA in five games (four starts)
    • Evansville (AAA): 6-8, 5.42 ERA in 38 games (10 starts)
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • April 14 - Had his best start of the year against the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) in 7 innings. Ray did not figure in the decision. Bare left the game with a lead, but reliever John Hiller blew the save and took the loss.
    • May 10 - Sent to AAA Evansville to make room for Mark Fidrych, who was going to be coming off of the disabled list.
  • Other card blogs: 1976


Saturday, December 17, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #42 - Jose Cruz


  • Cheo!!! He even put it in his autograph
  • Jose Cruz was one of several interesting players on the Houston Astros ballclub. They didn't put it together until 1980, but they were an interesting team.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • .299, 17 HR, 87 RBI, 44 stolen bases
    • tied for NL lead with 10 sacrifice flies
  • 1977 Highlights
  • Other card blogs: 19881976, 1975, 1973


Friday, December 16, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #41 - Jim Kern


  • Jim Kern was a relief pitcher who had most of his success in the late 1970s. His nickname was "The Amazing Emu".
  • Jim was signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1967. He pitched at Rookie Ball and A level in 1968 and then missed the 1969 season due to military service (he was in the Marine reserve).
  • Kern was a starting pitcher in the minors. He made slow but steady progress through the Cleveland system until finally getting a September call up in 1974.
  • Jim appeared in four games (three of them starts) for the Indians in 1974 and was 0-1 with a 4.70 ERA.
  • In 1975 Kern split the season between AAA Oklahoma City and the Indians. Jim was 1-2 with a 3.75 ERA for Cleveland in '75.
  • In 1976 the Indians converted Kern to a reliever. He made 50 appearances (two of them starts) during the season. Kern would start only three more times during the remainder of his career. It was Kern's breakout season -- he had a 10-7 record with a 2.37 ERA and had 15 saves.
  • Jim made his first All Star Game roster in 1977. He pitched a scoreless second inning and struck out Dave Parker and George Foster.
  • Kern was an AL All Star again in 1978 and pitched 2/3 of an inning in the game. Jim appeared in 58 games and had a 10-10 record with 13 saves. After the 1978 season Kern was traded (with Larvell Blanks) to the Texas Rangers for Bobby Bonds and Len Barker.
  • The 1979 season was Kern's best year. He finished fourth in AL Cy Young Award balloting and 11th in AL MVP voting. Jim went 13-5 with a 1.57 ERA and had 29 saves. He also made his third (and last) AL All Star team. This time Jim didn't fare as well -- he took the loss when he walked Lee Mazzilli with the bases loaded in the top of the 9th to put the NL ahead to stay.
  • Jim's fortunes completely reversed in 1980. He slumped to a 3-11 record, had a 4.83 ERA, and saved only two games. Kern played hurt with several injuries for much of the year.
  • In 1981 Kern bounced back -- he made only 23 appearances but was 1-2 with six saves and had a 2.70 ERA. He missed almost six weeks (from late April to early June) with an injury and then the players went on strike shortly after he came back. 
  • After the 1981 season Jim was traded to the New York Mets for Doug Flynn and Dan Boitano. He never pitched for the Mets -- in February 1982 Jim was traded (with Greg Harris and Alex Trevino) to the Cincinnati Reds for George Foster.
  • Jim wasn't happy in Cincinnati. Tom Hume was the main guy out of the bullpen and the Reds were rebuilding. He pitched well (3-5, 2.84 ERA, 2 saves in 50 games), but he asked to be traded in early July. The Reds accommodated the request in August, shipping Jim to the Chicago White Sox for two minor leaguers. Jim didn't do as well for the White Sox -- he went 2-1 with a 5.14 ERA in 13 games.
  • Jim pitched in only one game for the White Sox in 1983 due to an injured elbow.
  • Kern was cut during spring training in 1984 and he wasn't happy about it. Jim was picked up by the Philadelphia Phillies in early June, but he was with the club for less than two months. Kern was 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA in eight appearances for the Phillies. Jim was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers in August, pitched in AA for a couple of weeks, then was brought up to Milwaukee and went 1-0 and didn't allow a run in six innings.
  • In 1985 Jim started the season in AAA Vancouver after being beat out by Jim Ladd in spring training. Kern was brought up in May, but he was released in June to make room for Pete Vuckovich, who was coming off of the disabled list. Jim had a 6.55 ERA in five appearances and had an 0-1 record.
  • The Indians signed Kern in 1986. Jim didn't fare well with the Indians (1-1, 7.90 ERA in 16 games) and was released on June 17.
  • Jim now works as an on-site general manager at the Rainbow Bay Resort in Anchorage, Alaska.
  • Here is a "where are they now" article from 2011.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • 8-10, 3.42 ERA, 18 saves in 60 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1982, 1978


Thursday, December 15, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #40 - Bobby Murcer




Wednesday, December 14, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #39 - Tom Griffin



  • Tom Griffin was a fifth starter and occasional reliever for the San Diego Padres in 1977.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • 6-9, 4.46 ERA in 38 games (20 starts)
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card  blogs: 1976, 1975, 1974, Cardboard Gods

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #38 - Craig Kusick


  • Craig Kusick was a backup first baseman, outfielder, and designated hitter for most of his career
  • He was originally slated to replace Harmon Killebrew at first base in Minnesota, but the Twins decided to move Rod Carew to 1B instead.
  • Kusick was signed by the Twins in 1970. He was in the minors from 1970-1973 and put up some good power numbers. Craig got a September call-up in 1973 and batted .250 in 15 games.
  • Craig started the 1974 season in AAA Tacoma and was batting .328 when he was called up in early June. Kusick batted .229 with 8 HR and 26 RBI in 57 games for the Twins in 1974.
  • Kusick made the Twins club in 1975 but struggled. He was batting .213 when he was sent back to Tacoma in June. Craig batted .260 in 56 games at Tacome before being recalled in mid-August. Kusick ended up batting .237 with 6 HR and 27 RBI for Minnesota in '75
  • Craig stayed with the Twins for the whole season in 1976. He batted .259 with 11 HR and 36 RBI in 109 games, splitting time between 1B and DH.
  • In 1977 Kusick had his best season. His stats and highlights for the season are detailed later in this entry.
  • Kusick had a rough time in 1978. He batted only .173 and he had 4 HR and 20 RBI in 77 games.
  • In 1979 Kusick continued to struggle. Craig was batting .241 in 54 at  bats when he was sold to the Toronto Blue Jays on July 25. Kusick didn't do a whole lot in Toronto (.204 in 54 at bats) and he was released at the end of the season.
  • Craig played in AAA in 1980 and in 1981, but he never got back to the majors.
  • After his retirement from baseball, Kusick became a high school baseball coach and health/PE teacher at Rosemount High School from 1982-2004.
  • Craig Kusick passed away on 27 September 2006. He had myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a condition that can lead to leukemia.
  • 1977 Stats
    • .254, 12 HR, 45 RBI in 115 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1975, 1978Cardboard Gods


Monday, December 12, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #37 - Steve Hargan



  • Steve Hargan pitched for three different teams in 1977. It was his last major league season.
  • Here is a link to his SABR biography.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • Toronto Blue Jays: 1-3, 5.22 ERA in 6 games (5 starts)
    • Texas Rangers: 1-0, 8.76 ERA in 8 games
    • Atlanta Braves: 0-3, 6.87 ERA in 16 games (5 starts)
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • April 11 - Pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless ball and earned the win.
    • May 9 - Traded to the Texas Rangers (with Jim Mason and $200,000) for Roy Howell
    • June 15 - Traded to the Atlanta Braves for a player to be named later. In baseball reference, it shows that he was purchased instead of traded.
    • Aug 29 - Walked in the winning run in the bottom of the 14th inning as the Braves lost to the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2
    • Dec 13 - Released by the Braves. Steve pitched for two minor league clubs in 1978 but never made it back to the majors.
  • Other card blogs: 1976, 1975, 1972,  1971

Sunday, December 11, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #36 - John Ellis




Saturday, December 10, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #35 - Rennie Stennett




Friday, December 9, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #34 - California Angels / Norm Sherry


  • Norm Sherry managed the 1976 California Angels after replacing Dick Williams on July 23.
    • The Angels had a 37-29 record under Sherry to finish the 1976 season
  • The Angels were picked by many to contend for the AL West title in 1977
  • Sherry managed the Angels for the first 81 games of the 1977 season and had a 39-42 record before being fired on July 11.
  • Norm had a long minor league career in the Brooklyn/LA Dodgers system before  making it to the  majors at the age of 27 at the end of the 1959 season.
    • He played for various minor league clubs from 1950-1959 (excluding the two years he spent serving in Korea)
    • Sherry was a backup catcher for the Dodgers from 1959-1962. He was credited for helping Sandy Koufax become a great pitcher by advising him to take a little off of his fastball to get better control.
    • Norm was sold to the New York Mets after the 1962 season.
    • He spent one year with the Mets (1963) and another year with the Mets' AAA Buffalo ballclub before calling it quits as a full-time player.
    • Sherry was a player-manager for the Dodgers' Class A club from 1965-1967.
    • Norm coached for the Angels in 1970 and 1971.
    • In 1972 Sherry started managing in the Angels' system. Norm worked his way up the organization  until he became the manager of the major league club in 1976
    • Sherry never managed again. He was a pitching coach for several seasons under Dick Williams at Montreal and San Diego and under Roger Craig in San Francisco.
  • Team Highlights:
  • Team Leaders:
    • Batting Average: Gil Flores (.278)
    • Runs: Bobby Bonds (103)
    • Home Runs: Bobby Bonds (37)
    • RBI: Bobby Bonds (115)
    • Stolen Bases: Bobby Bonds / Jerry Remy (41)
    • Wins: Nolan Ryan (19)
    • Losses: Nolan Ryan (16)
    • Strikeouts: Nolan Ryan (341)
    • ERA (starter): Frank Tanana (2.54)
    • ERA (reliever): Dyar Miller (3.02)
    • Saves: Dave LaRoche (13)
  • Team Stats:
    • Record: 74-88, 5th in AL West, 28 games behind the Kansas City Royals
    • Attendance: 1,432,633 (6th of 14 in AL)
    • Batting Average: .255 (12th in AL)
    • Runs Scored: 675 (10th in AL)
    • Home Runs: 131 (9th in AL)
    • Stolen Bases: 159 (3rd in AL)
    • ERA: 3.72 (4th in AL)
    • Fielding Percentage: .976 (10th in AL)
  • League Leaders:
    • ERA - Frank Tanana (2.54)
    • Strikeouts - Nolan Ryan (341)
    • Shutouts - Frank Tanana (7)
    • Bases on Balls Nolan Ryan (204) - this was more than double the #2 pitcher (Jim Palmer with 99)
  • Awards:
    • Nolan Ryan (TSN Pitcher of the Year)
  • AL All Stars:
    • Nolan Ryan (P), Frank Tanana (P)
  • Other card blogs (Norm Sherry): Number 5 Type Collection, centerfieldmaz, Baseball by the Letters


Thursday, December 8, 2011

1977 Topps Baesball #33 - Wayne Garland




Wednesday, December 7, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #32 - Checklist: 1-132



  • A really  nice team can be assembled from cards #1-132:
    • C - Johnny Bench
    • 1B - Rod Carew
    • 2B - Joe Morgan
    • SS - Bucky Dent
    • 3B - Ron Cey
    • OF - Reggie Jackson, Jim Rice, Greg Luzinski, Cesar Cedeno (one of them can DH)
    • SP - Steve Carlton, Tommy John, Mike Flanagan, Joe Niekro, Don Gullett
    • RP - Rawly Eastwick, Rudy May
    • There are numerous others who could make a good bench.